When considering student misconceptions and conceptual challenges in science and mathematics, the use of digital technology can offer educators a tool through which to challenge previously acquired misconceptions. Initially, educators may choose to take an approach based on Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development by developing an online multiple choice test consisting of specific questions designed to reveal the common misconceptions that students bring to the learning environment. Once misconceptions are determined, technology may be used to reshape students’ conceptual ideas through varied presentation and inquiry tools. Keeping in mind Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, varied digital technology approaches to exploring a concept can be chosen that focus on oral, auditory, visual, interactive and constructive ways of learning.
WISE (Web-based Inquiry Science Environment) is an online science space that was explored from a constructivist perspective in ETEC 510: Design of Technology Supported Learning Environments. This digital technology tool is a space that students are required to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and role players. As students work through their relevant inquiry, they are encouraged to collaborate through problem solving and anonymous critiquing. Frequent feedback is available from the teacher as the students move through interactive activities to construct their final solution. Although I have not used this site as an educator, I continue to hold it in the back of my mind as an “ideal” in design for effective use of digital technology due to its collaborative, critical thinking and constructivist focus.